(SPOT.ph) Masarap Ba? is an Instagram account (@masarapba) that has gained more than 20,000 followers in just a couple of months.
I first came across the account when it started following mine. It had less than a hundred followers then. Now, just weeks later, Masarap Ba’s followers have exceeded my own, and with good reason. The posts are of restaurant dishes—often hyped specialties—and the occasional cult snack, along with a conclusion of "Masarap" or "Hindi Masarap" superimposed on the photo, with a longer explanation defending the verdict underneath.
The allure of Masarap Ba? is its refreshing take on food reviews. The format makes it necessary to keep thoughts short; the poster’s anonymity keeps his personal life safe (we all know how rabid trolls and die-hard fans can be), enabling Masarap Ba? to be honest without fear of reprisal. This also means that he has to pay out-of-pocket, which means that his reviews are free of the ethical quandry that writing about a free meal brings. And then there is the fact that the reviews—though still subjective—are witty, entertaining, easy to read, and honest.
I managed to interview the person behind the account via e-mail:
How have you been?
Medyo nagulat sa success ng Instagram account na Masarap Ba. 'Di ko inakala. Gusto ko lang magsulat ng reviews in a witty way.
Why did you decide to create the Masarap Ba? account?
Madalas kasi ako mainis sa mga restaurant na mahal at praised, pero pagkain mo 'don, hindi naman masarap. 'Yong mga tao kasi maka-Instagram lang, 'di naman honest. Or sinasabi nila masarap para isipin ng mga tao nakakakain sila ng masarap. Ginusto ko lang ng outlet, saka i-warn na din 'yong mga tao na hindi lahat ng masarap tignan, masarap kainin.
How do you pick which dishes to post about?
May trabaho ako at konti lang 'yong oras ko kaya kung ano lang 'yong madaanan at makainan ko talaga.
What do you think of the current local food blogging/writing scene?
Madaming bayaran. Madaming nagsu-sugarcoat para mabigyan pa ng mas maraming GC or ma-invite sa mas madaming events.
What was the most challenging thing about running MB and how did you overcome it?
Una sa lahat, luma yung cellphone ko kaya 'yong photos ko hindi masyadong maganda, pero it does the job. Pangalawa, hindi naman ako mayaman, ang hirap i-grant 'yong request ng mga tao ng madaming i-review kasi 'di ko naman ma-afford lahat. Ginagawa ko naman 'yong best ko. Mas murang shampoo, toothpaste, at sabon na 'yong binibili ko para may pera ako pangkain at pang-review.
What's the best thing about running MB?
'Yong appreciation ng mga tao. Ibig sabihin naghahanap din sila ng honest reviews. Sa dami ng restaurants diyan, dapat mas mataas na 'yong standards natin, at 'di tayo nagpapalinlang sa marketing.
Is it hard to stay anonymous?
Oo. Hindi ko mapuntahan 'yong mga invitation sa events, restaurants. Saka patago ako lagi mag-picture, minsan ang dilim tuloy.
What would make you break anonymity?
Ewan. Baka wala.
Why did you choose Instagram as your platform?
Hawak ko 'yong phone ko palagi. Kahit kulang ako sa oras, makakapag-post ako kahit asa banyo.
Do you take follower requests when it comes to a restaurant?
Gusto ko sana pero ang lalayo naman kasi noong request nila.
What's the most negative reaction you've gotten to a review?
Sino daw ba ako para mag-review ng mga restaurant. 'Yan din 'yong mindset ng mga taong pumapatay ng mga journalist.
What do you plan to do next?
Mas madami pang review. Mag-wish na ma-grant 'yong request ng readers. Mag-wish na matupad 'yong wish ko.
Tell us something about MB? that you wish more people knew.
Wala naman. Transparent naman ako in general so nakalatag na lahat.
Screencaps taken with permission from Masarap Ba's Instagram and Facebook accounts
Yvette Tan is a lifestyle writer by day, horror writer by night. Pick up her books Waking the Dead and Kaba at select establishments. Find her on Twitter and Instagram (@yvette_tan).
Read more about Masarap Ba? on FemaleNetwork.com.